The decision to allow Syria back into the Arab League has sparked anger among many residents of opposition-held northern Syria and members of the country’s political opposition, who see it as a vindication of the government’s attacks against them during a now 12-year war.

Several Arab League members decided this week to reinstate Syria’s membership, under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad, after more than a decade of isolation at the organisation’s headquarters in Cairo on Sunday.

“I was very surprised by this decision because I expected our Arab brothers, leaders, and princes to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for his crimes against the Syrian people over the past 12 years, not to help wash the stains of our blood and body parts of our children and women,” Ghassan al-Yousef, a Syrian dissident from the town of al-Tah in southern Idlib, told Al Jazeera.